Serial drink-driver probably can't change his ways – Judith Collins

The AM Show 23/11/2018

Judith Collins says a drink-drive killer who avoided jail at his latest sentencing probably can't be rehabilitated.

Gavin Hawthorn, 56, has more than 60 convictions for a range of crimes - 12 of them related to drink driving. He killed three people in a crash in 1989, and was jailed in 2004 for the manslaughter of his friend, killed in a high-speed crash the previous year.

How many more people does this man have to kill?

In his latest court appearance he was sentenced to six months' home detention, 180 hours' community service and disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence for two years.

"I can't understand why he has a licence, why he has a car to drive," Ms Collins told The AM Show on Friday.

"I don't understand why he's out there. How many more people does this man have to kill?"

Ms Collins used to be the Minister of Police and Minister of Justice, and used her profile to campaign against reckless drivers - most notably boy racers, earning the nickname 'Crusher' in the process.

She said while the judge "has better information than us" about Hawthorn, she doesn't think he can change his ways.

"I would have thought that his a very safe place for him to be because when he's been in jail, strangely enough he hasn't killed anybody."

Labour MP Michael Wood, appearing on The AM Show with Ms Collins, said Hawthorn was a "complete menace" but the law made it "tricky".

"Quite often these people have temporary suspensions put on their ability to drive, but they then go an ignore them anyway, so it's exceptionally difficult.

"One of the things we're doing at the moment is the road safety strategy, which will look at everything - including these issues around drink driving and how we can keep people safe."

Victims advocate Ruth Money told The AM Show on Thursday the sentence was "ridiculous", and Hawthorn needs help.

"Give us time to get him the mental health, the alcohol and drug rehabilitation that he needs, but keep us safe," she said. "Let's get smart about what we can do to protect the public and to help that guy not kill anybody else."

Ms Collins isn't so sure.

"There's the odd person you can't do much with, you can't rehabilitate, and he clearly is way out there."

Watch the full panel above.

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